…and…speaking of ads on page 1…

THOSE OF YOU WHO READ my monthly column (and if you don’t…why not?!?!) know that my latest offering included some suggestions on how to separate the news hole on page 1 from a rail of ads running down the left side of the page.

The idea for the column was originally forwarded some time ago by Lauri Shillings at the Journal Review. After the column appeared, Lauri got back to me with a note and some pages showing how ads had been treated on page 1 at the Journal Review during the past couple of years.

I’ve reassembled her notes and pages here…so you can get a feel for what’s been going on at one newspaper that’s placing a lot of ads on the front.




You know, I did take your advice, and added a 3pt. grey rule between the ad rail and news hole. (see the .pdf for the timeline of it)  It really does make a difference…. And I’ve talked most of the night shift editorial out of using a colored tint block!!! I think we are starting to make progress. I thought it interesting to note the ‘evolution’ or de-evolution of our front page as time, different leadership and serious staff turnover happened in our editorial dept.

I’ve attached a series of front pages from Jan of 2008, when our online e-edition started, to now, so you can see the changes that time brought us.”

Here’s a timeline:

We got a new editor in August of 2007. I don’t have any editions in digital format prior to this change to show you how we were before current editor took the chair.

Feb. 18, 2008. A new publisher. We added the front page ads on the 19th. We had 24 hour notice to totally recreate our front page to accommodate this.

July, 2008. We went through a web width change on our press. Further shrinking the news hole on 1A. I tried to make the teaser area less offensive at this time. It worked for a while…

September, 2008. We had fewer ads sold for the front page so we had to change it up again. We still had an ‘ear’ on the front to contend with in the nameplate area however.

September, 2009 shows the color boxes on the front of A1. (and the mug shot of the page designer responsible for it at the top of that page—he left us in the Spring of 2010 for a better position elsewhere!)

April 2010. Since Spring of this year, things have been cleaning up a bit with a healthy, rebellious group effort from night time page designers and myself actually discussing / talking/ arguing over what we want the paper to be—not what it always has been. It’s still a work in progress—as any newspaper always will be.

I just thought you would be interested in what happens to a paper over time, with drastic changes in leadership and a heavy turnover in staff.

As always, I appreciate your thoughts, and those of your readership.

FROM ED: Many thanks for sharing this with us, Lauri. Dunno if I can help you with any of this—perhaps others have some suggestions—but this is clear proof of how page 1 ads can control the look of the page. I think you’re doing the best you can with what you’ve got. Glad to see you’ve cleaned up the top of the page (though that ear is awful!) and I’m especially happy that you’ve rid yourselves of those horrible tint blocks behind some stories. One thing I just can’t bear: Look at the text wrap in the Seminar story on the page just above. That’s just sloppy work. When there’s a text wrap, the designer must 1) check out the word spacing and letter spacing and 2) fix it if necessary. Poor text wraps just make us look like we’re not paying attention (because…well…we’re not!).

Really appreciate your taking the time to send this along. Now…let’s see what others have to say!



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2 responses to “…and…speaking of ads on page 1…

  1. Anonymous

    I definitely like the more current looks. The top looks cleaner and more readable. Promos look better too. I just have one little itty problem with the tint blocks. The green one is a little too dark, I think, and if you’re going to use tint a box I wouldn’t border it as well. I would do one or the other, but not both.

    • Most times, I just can’t see any good reason whatsoever to use a tint block. I warn clients away from them because:
      1) They’re often not even necessary.
      2) When they are used, it’s most often a sign of failure to plan for something better, like a photo or graphioc.
      3) Most often, the colors are garish or to dark.

      Occasionally, like on Kristin Coker’s Shroud page (posted on this blog) a tint block can work elegantly. But that’s only occasionally—and when it’s done by an experienced designer who understands the difference between garish and glorious.

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